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23 October 2003
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Korea Life Blog - Grocery Store Ad

An ad for the local grocery store came in my mailbox box today. I thought I'd share it with you. It may be interesting for people thinking about coming here to see it, or for Koreans living in America to compare the prices of their favorite items. Shopping in Korea is still difficult for me as I don't know exactly what to cook. I should invest in a Korean cookbook in English, or print out some recipes from online. If any of my Korean readers have some good recipes for simple Korean dishes, send them along. I plan on making a lot of Korean meals now that I have my new rice cooker. Today I bought kimchi, dwen jang paste, soy sauce, ko chu jang, kim, garlic, tofu, onion, sam gyeop sal, mi yuk guk, and a bunch of canned fish for "my" cats. I really felt Korean checking out with that assortment of goods. When in Rome do as they do.

There's quite a lot of stuff going on sale this week. The store is pretty small...it looks like there's a sale on pretty much everything. There's a few American things here: Del Monte Orange juice, Coke (of course), Maxwell House coffee, and Kellog's Frosted Flakes. There's also Spam but it's hard to see. Believe it or not, Spam is very popular here. They even sell huge Spam gift sets (a must get photo for a future post.) Sorry about the glare on these pics. I didn't notice it until now. Other things here are rice, cooking oils, mayonnaise, eggs (brown eggs are just as good as white eggs don't worry) ramyon, cold coffee drinks, dry cream, milk, yogurt drink (yum!) etc....

Another part of the ad. Dove Soap and Pringles are the only American products on this page. Korean versions of what you need are just as good and sometimes better. I remember how stupid I was when I first got here. I had my family send me soap and toothpaste for awhile. Now I think Korean soap is actually better and I found a great LG made toothpaste that has some kind of gritty substance in it that makes my teeth clean and bright. However, I have yet to see any razor or shaving cream that even remotely compares to Gillette. You can find Mach 3 and Gillette shaving cream pretty much anywhere here at equally outrageous prices as back home.

There's no shortage of vegetables or meat here, don't worry. Vegetables are abundant but meat is just not in the same shape and form you would find at home and is understandably more expensive. Don't fret - bulgogi and sam gyeop sal are reasonable and wonderfully delicious. You won't see T-bone, NYS prime rib, or Filet Mingion so forget it. On a real down side, you can't buy fresh deli meats in Korea and I have yet to come across a turkey. Now that I think about it, I really miss cold cut sandwiches and deli pickles. Good thing there are several Subway franchises in Seoul! Now, what cracks me up is the middle section of this page. I'm not sure why, but the fish and fruit are listed side by side. Nothing goes better with an apple than some fish. Also, notice the tomatoes there in the same row. In Korea tomatoes are considered a fruit.

Tonight when I went shopping, they were having some kind of no rae bang contest in the store. Right next to the vegetables people were lined up to sing their favorite song. An ajumma, carrying a full basket of groceries, sang Korean country music so passionately that other ajummas applauded loudly and practically broke into tears. I wish I had my camera with me.


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